Best mid-sized towns in the PNW for Music

Best mid-sized towns in the PNW for Music
Participating in a band, orchestra, or choir is a rite of passage for many schoolchildren.  Even as kids move on to college, there are almost always groups available to join so allow them to continue to be involved in music on a college campus.

After college is where it can get more difficult.  Large cities always have options for local music groups to engage with but anything smaller than a major city and the options available can literally drop to zero. 

If you are relocating, but want to make sure you’ll still be able to devote time to your musical passions, we have profiled every mid-sized city in the Pacific Northwest and researched how many music organizations are in each. We looked for three types of organizations, orchestras, bands, and choirs.  To count, it had to be a non-professional group open to anybody to join.

For mid-sized cities (population between 10,000 and 74,999)  in the Pacific Northwest, which includes Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, here are the top 3.

Olympia, WA – Population 51,020.  Olympia, located 60 miles south of Seattle on the southern shores of Puget Sound, is the capital city of Washington state.  There are eight music organizations to join.  On top of lots of options for casual players, there is also the Olympia Symphony Orchestra, a semi-professional orchestra that does open auditions from time to time. 

Ashland, OR – Population 20861.  Located just 20 miles from the California border, Ashland has become a mecca for artists across the entire West coast.  Home of the Shakespeare festival every summer, an event that draws over 400,000 visitors, it is no surprise that there are lots of options for music buffs.  With 8 music organizations to choose from, no city on the west coast has a higher Music Organization/Capita than Ashland.

Idaho Falls, ID – Population 61,076.  Our 3rd city is Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Hugging the banks of the Snake River in eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls is the most remote city on our list. With 5 organizations to choose from, including the Idaho Falls Symphony Orchestra, there is an organization for every kind of musician.

If you are looking to travel or relocate, It can be hard to try to find the perfect city for you.  Everyone has a different idea of what the best means. Someone who is a wine buff might have different needs than someone who frequents museums.  Someone who is passionate about music wants something different than someone who wants to connect with nature.

Maybe none of the cities we’ve profiled are your cup of tea. Or maybe a city needs to have a place for you to play your clarinet and get a decent burger before you commit.  That’s why we created the NextDiggs quiz so that you can decide what features are “the best”  for you.  We profiled every city in America with 5000 or more residents with 61 criteria.  You can choose to answer all the questions, or only the ones pertaining to criteria that are important to you.  So go ahead and take the quiz and find your own “top 3”.

Read about the best small towns in Oregon